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raving beauty

Queen Fabiola of Belgium

Queen Fabiola of Belgium (born Fabiola Fernanda María de las Victorias Antonia Adelaida de Mora y Aragón Madrid, June 11, 1928) was the queen consort of King Baudouin I of the Belgians. Though during her husband's lifetime she was styled HM the Queen of the Belgians, since his death in 1993 she has been styled HM Queen Fabiola of Belgium.

Biography

Her Excellency Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón was the third daughter of Don Gonzalo de Mora y Fernández, Riera y del Olmo, Marquess of Casa Riera, 2nd Count of Mora (1887—1957) and his wife, Doña Blanca de Aragón y Carrillo de Albornoz, Barroeta-Aldamar y Elio, Marchioness of Casa Riera, Countess of Mora (1892—1981). She was a sister of Jaime de Mora y Aragón, a Spanish actor and jet set playboy. Her godmother was Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain.

Before her marriage she published an album of 12 fairy tales (Los doce Cuentos maravillosos), one of which ("The Indian Water Lilies") would get its own pavilion in the Efteling theme park in 1966.

On December 15, 1960 Doña Fabiola married Baudouin who had been the king of the Belgians since his father's abdication in 1951. At the marriage ceremony in the church of Laeken she wore a 1926 Art Deco tiara that had been a gift of the Belgian state to her husband's mother, Princess Astrid of Sweden upon her marriage to Léopold III of the Belgians. Her dress of satin and mink was designed by the couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga. TIME magazine, in its September 26, 1960 issue, called Doña Fabiola, who was a hospital nurse at the time of her engagement, "Cinderella Girl" and described her as "an attractive young woman, though no raving beauty" and "the girl who could not catch a man." On the occasion of her marriage, Spanish bakers set out to honor Fabiola and created a type of bread, "the fabiola", which is still made and consumed in a daily basis in many Spanish cities.

The royal couple had no children, as the queen's five pregnancies ended in miscarriage. There are reports, however, that she had a stillborn child in the mid 1960s. Fabiola openly spoke about her miscarriages in 2008: 'You know, I lost 5 children. You learn something from that experience. During my pregnancies I got problems, but you know, in the end I think life is beautiful'.

Baudouin died in 1993 and was succeeded by his younger brother, the Prince of Liège who became Albert II of the Belgians. Queen Fabiola moved out of the Royal Palace of Laeken to the more modest Stuyvenbergh Castle and reduced her public appearances in order not to overshadow her sister-in-law, Queen Paola. She is famous for her hairstyle that has not changed in decades.

Admired for her devout Roman Catholicism and involvement in social causes particularly those related to mental health, children's issues and women's issues in the Third World, Queen Fabiola is a recipient of the 2001 Ceres Medal, in recognition of her work to promote rural women in developing countries. The medal was given by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). She's also honorary president of King Baudouin Foundation. Her association with Opus Dei remains controversial within Belgium.

Guido Derom, an explorer, named a newly-discovered range of Antarctic mountains in her honour in 1961. She also has several varieties of ornamental plants named after her.

Linguistic skills

According to official sources, in addition to Spanish, Queen Fabiola is fluent in French, Dutch, English, German, and Italian.

Titles from birth

  • Her Excellency Doña Fabiola Fernanda de Mora y Aragón (1928—1960)
  • Her Majesty The Queen of the Belgians (1960—1993)
  • Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of Belgium (1993—)

See also

External links

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